Jane Mather-Glass | KBIA

Jane Mather-Glass

We're nearing the end of 2020, and this week's episode of The Check-In is the last live show of the year. We’ll miss you, and we’ll miss this weekly connection, until we’re back in 2021, live on Thursdays. 

But before we go, we want to send off this year of 2020, as always here on The Check-In, by coming together. This show is a special edition that is all about our community. In fact, our community members are the guests of this episode.

What has the year 2020 meant for us Missourians, as Americans, as a community? What have we learned this past year? We're talking about how this year has affected us—our defining moments, ways we've persevered, how we've come together, and what we hope to bring with us into 2021.

The 2020 holiday season has arrived, whether we're ready or not. And with it comes not only lights and traditions of the season, but also for many of us a lot of pressure, and a sense of loss.

A big challenge this year has been divisions in our culture—and faith communities are all about coming together. So today on The Check-In, we’re checking in with each other, and with three interfaith leaders to talk about connecting with the people and the traditions we love during the holidays.

Our guests today:

Rabbi Phillip Cohen from Congregation Beth Shalom in Columbia

We have some holidays to get through, and we are now a week out from Thanksgiving. Our holiday traditions are likely changing, and compounded with regular holiday stress, this could be a difficult time.

So, what is Thanksgiving going to look like for you? And what do any of us have to be thankful for?

That’s a tough one. So we're talking to a couple of experts to to get some advice on how to stay grateful in these times, and the role gratitude can play in our lives.

Our guests:
AJ Jacobs, author of "Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey"

Reverend Dr. Cassandra Gould, executive director of Missouri Faith Voices

Today in our country, you may be feeling a cautious optimism about a way forward following four years that will be known as The Trump Era.

So now is a good time to look at what we are—and who we are—as a country, and as Americans. Was the last four years one big aberration? With 71 million voters supporting President Trump, the force behind the President is real, it’s part of us, and it’s not going away. What does that say about who we are as a country and what it’s like to live here?

Today three international scholars are joining us to examine America and who we are. What does the idea of America mean for you? How does it feel to be an American in the US today? 

Our guests today:

Corinne Valdivia, an MU professor of agricultural economics who specializes in immigration, integration, and rural development

Jay Sexton, MU professor and Kinder Institute Chair 

Adam Smith, professor at Oxford University and director of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute

Here we are—we’ve made it to November, and we’ve made it through Election Day … sort of. We’re heading toward the wind-down of this remarkable year. And we’re waiting in limbo for election results, trying to stay safe and healthy amid rising Coronavirus numbers, and reflecting on the state of our democracy, our justice, and our health. It’s just a lot. 

The Check-In is about connecting, and sharing solutions. So today, let’s decompress. We’re coming together to talk about how we’re doing. How can we stay mentally healthy amid the uncertainty, the stress and the loss that has defined the time we’re in?

Our guests today:

Laura Schopp, clinical psychologist and chair of MU's Wellness Program.

Tashel Bordere, an MU professor who researches trauma, loss, grief, and adolescent mental health. 

A roundup of headlines from across the region, including:

We're all well aware that there’s an election coming up—in just five days, you are being called upon to make decisions as an American citizen: Decisions about the next President of the United States. Also, decisions about your state Governor, Leiutenant Governor, and lots of state representatives and state senators, as well as some issues, including Clean Missouri. Today we’re breaking down your ballot—what’s on it, how to decide, and how to make sure your vote gets counted. 

Our guests today:

Brianna Lennon, Boone County Clerk

Scott Swafford, senior City Editor at the Columbia Missourian, and long-time political reporter

Mark Horvit, director of the Missouri School of Journalism's State Government Reporting program, and specialist in investigative reporting

The civilian board that oversees the Kansas City Police Department went into a closed session on after civil rights activists repeatedly called for a public vote on whether to fire the city’s police chief.

The disruption of Tuesday's meeting was the latest salvo in a months-long effort by civil rights activists to force Chief Rick Smith to resign or be fired over the police department’s handling of excessive force complaints and fatal shootings of Black men by officers.

How do we get information about an event if we aren’t there to witness it? How do we know what the President of the United States said yesterday or what happened at a protest downtown if we weren’t there?

We know because others—usually journalists, but increasingly, fellow citizens—witness the events, and record them. This mediated filter is how we know about the world we’re in. We can’t use our plain old common sense to figure out what’s happening, or how we should vote, though we’d like to.

How we’re all getting our information—our media consumption habits—has become a critical factor in our democracy. Understanding the sources we get our news from and being able to analyze and judge the media we consume is so important in this time we’re living in. 

Community connection has never been more important than right now, as we are in one of the most important times that we all come together in this great American democracy: Election Day. But in this 2020 election, as for so many things in 2020, we have anxiety. You may well have just this morning turned on your NPR to hear discussion about concerns about violence in November. Or you’ve thought that we have to take a moment to breathe and sort out what this means for our community. How are you feeling about voting this momentous election? Today we’ll talk about all things voting, and we’ll take some time to sort out the questions, and to remember that there is still much in this democracy that we agree on. We just have to find it. 

Our guests: Mary Stegmaier, MU political science professor and expert on elections and voting

Sheryl Oring and Lisa Bielawa, creators of “Voters’ Broadcast,” a musical work that seeks to raise the voices of voters in our democracy

Four candidates vying for Missouri governor participated in a forum today for the first time this election cycle.

The candidates are Incumbent Republican Governor Mike Parson, Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Libertarian Rik Combs and Green Party’s Jerome Bauer.

Questions about COVID-19, crime, and other issues pitted front-runners Parson and Galloway against each other.

On the issue of COVID-19, Galloway said that she would bring better leadership to Jefferson City to lead the state through the pandemic.

Since we last checked in, we've had the COVID-19 pandemic reach the very top of our American political establishment and the White House. And nevertheless, we are in election season. So the debates go on, and we're trying to talk to each other, debate each other and address the issue. 

So how is that going? It appears we need some help. So today we're checking in with an expert on political communication, discourse and debate. He's a Missourian and an MU professor. He'll break down some debate highlights from this election cycle and through the ages with us, and try to make sense of it all.

Later, we’ll hear from a local musician about her experiences the past few months and how music moves us forward. 

Our guests: Mitchell McKinney, MU professor and political communications expert

Symonne Sparks, Columbia musician

Fifty years or 100 years from now, when we read about this time we're in, what will be the lessons? What are we learning? 

Today, we're checking in with two historians to get some historical context to the times we're in. What are you hoping for when it comes to how this current era and this election season fit into the landscape of time in history?

At the end of the show we’ll hear about the intersection of art and activism and how they come together in the WE Project.

Our guests today: Devin Fergus, the Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor of History and Black Studies

Jay Sexton, the Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy, and a Professor of History

Valerie Berta, photojournalist and activist, creator of the WE project

A roundup of headlines from across the region, including:

Jane Mather-Glass / KBIA

Columbia-native band David Wax Museum was recently in town to play a show at Rose Music Hall, and KBIA's Jane Mather-Glass caught up with them to talk about their Missouri roots and what it's like performing in your home town. 

Jane Mather-Glass / KBIA

The Sweaters are a band born and bred in Columbia, Mo. Since they started playing music together a few summers ago, they’ve hit many of the local music venues around town, opening for touring artists or playing their own shows. They even played at a stage at Roots ‘n Blues music festival, and at True/False Film Festival. Ben and Henry Cohen and Anders Harms are The Sweaters—and they’re all playing and performing their way through their teenage years.

The mayors of Missouri’s largest cities met in Columbia on Friday to continue their discussion of how to reduce violent crime in the state.

The meeting brought together the mayors of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia, plus police chiefs from each city and community business leaders.

St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson said these meetings are all about keeping Missourians safe.